The value of the Kansas University endowment increased by 18 percent this year, to $1.24 billion, the KU Endowment Association announced Friday at its annual meeting.
The growth was driven by contributions from a record number of donors - 43,400 - and a 19.3 percent return on the endowment's existing investments. Figuring in other endowment assets, including real estate and natural gas rights, the endowment's holdings are now worth $1.71 billion, up from $1.52 billion last year. That represents a 13 percent increase.
The endowment brought in $94.3 million from donors and disbursed $94.9 million to students, faculty and staff. The amount of money donors gave this year to endowment was up from $86.4 million last year.
"Our meeting went very well," said Endowment President Dale Seuferling, who reported about the fiscal year that ended June 30. "Everyone was very pleased with how we're helping the university and bringing new resources to the university."
Total support to KU, however, was down from $99 million last year, which was down from $104 million the year before. Much of that decline, though, can be attributed to the waning number of construction projects on campus.
Seuferling said much of the growth in endowed funds can be attributed to solid investment strategies and goals that allowed the endowment to out-perform an already strong market.
"The larger endowment will allow us to increase the amount of support we provide for scholarships and other programs, because we'll be distributing money from a larger principal," Seuferling said.
Nationally, KU continues to have one of the larger public university endowments. The National Association of College and University Business Officers annually compiles a list of the endowments of U.S. universities. In the most recent rankings, from January, KU was 58th overall and fourth in the Big 12, behind the University of Texas system, the Texas A&M; system, and the University of Nebraska system.
New rankings come out each January. But according to already-released annual reports, all three schools will remain ahead of KU's endowment. The NU endowment topped $1.59 billion this year, while UT and Texas A&M; were well ahead of KU previously.
KU's endowment differs from the others in a key way, however, in that KU's endowment only includes one university. UT, Texas A&M; and NU all have several other universities in addition to the primary campuses that are members of the Big 12.